Councillor Jonny Morris, 49, a Labour Party Councillor on Plymouth City Council, has been suspended from the Labour Party after he was caught on camera giving a Nazi salute during a budget meeting in Devon.
Councillor Tudor Evans, leader of the Plymouth Labour group, confirmed that Councillor Morris had been suspended while the matter was investigated. He said “The whips are now looking into the matter. Obviously we take this very seriously.”
Devon and Cornwall Police confirmed that they have been made aware of the shocking incident which is being investigated as a public order offence.
Councillor Morris claims he became “angry” after Conservative and UKIP councillors cut the debate on the budget short by calling for the vote to be taken. He was then captured on footage which was being live streamed online performing the offensive gesture at his Tory and UKIP rivals.
This prompted councillors within the chamber to voice their disgust and immediately call for him to apologise. After the meeting Councillor Morris apologised, saying: “I was very angry at the closing down of debate on Plymouth’s budget by the UKIP/Tory ruling group. I let that anger get the better of me, and made an inappropriate and offensive gesture. I apologise unreservedly.”
The Conservative leader of the council, Councillor Ian Bowyer, said the act could be considered a hate crime. He said “I think the Council’s monitoring officer will doubtless wish to investigate further — there are potentially serious consequences here. Although Councillor Morris apologised for his behaviour in my opinion this constitutes hate crime, which is totally unacceptable.”
Campaign Against Antisemitism commends the local Labour Councillors for their swift and firm action. Unfortunately, we can have no confidence that the national Labour Party will take this matter as seriously. Following Baroness Chakrabarti’s whitewash report into antisemitism in the Labour Party, the Party has kept disciplinary decisions secret whilst even unremorseful antisemites are being readmitted to the Party.